Robert R. Johnston. Submitted photo
Robert R. Johnston. Submitted photo

Robert Roy Johnston, born on May 5, 1936, in Hibbing Minnesota to parents Roy and Minnie (Fyrand) Johnston died, at the age of 81, on February 3, 2018. He was surrounded by his family and under the loving care of the staff at Parkview Community Campus in Woodville, WI.

Robert attended school in Nashwauk, MN graduating in 1954. Robert worked in the family sawmill as a teenager and continued to return during summers while attending school at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN where he received a B.A. in Economics. In time, Robert took over Johnston Motors, which was founded in 1922 by his grandfather, making the business a three-generation enterprise.

In 1974, Robert moved this business to its final location in Milaca, MN, until selling it to become a farmer. He raised beef cattle, along with chickens, ducks, a horse for his daughter, and a pet pig (Kinkku) that followed him everywhere. He enjoyed his farming days immensely but had an itch that he had yet to scratch. This drew him to sell his farm and return to school. In 1994, Robert graduated from William Mitchell College of Law. As an attorney, he practiced in Milaca then returned to his roots in Nashwauk, where he later retired.

In 1964, Robert married Julianne Ferraro. Together they raised two children, Nathan and Jennifer. Robert and Julianne divorced in 1989 but remained friends and continued to celebrate life’s treasures together at family events and holidays. Robert was very proud of his family and especially cherished these moments when he moved to Parkview. While residing at Parkview, Robert also enjoyed his apartment and feeding the deer, birds, squirrels and other ‘critters’ that made their way to his feeders.

Robert is survived by his children Nathan Johnston (Elk River, MN), his wife Sharon (McConnell) and their daughters Rachael and Emily, his daughter Jennifer Smith (Woodville, WI) her husband Charles and their children Forrester, Soleil, and Lillie. Robert is also survived by his sister Carolyn Mayo, her husband Charles and their children Charles, Liisa, and Andrew.

A celebration of life for family and friends will be held on February 16 at 11:00 am at Zion Lutheran Church in Woodville, WI with a time of fellowship following the service.